Posted on Dec 07, 2019
A group of ocean experts, including the UN Special Envoy for the Ocean, scientists and NGOs convening for a COP25 event in Madrid have called for immediate action by governments worldwide to end overfishing in order to mitigate the impacts of climate change on the world’s oceans.
"The combination of overfishing and climate change is deadly for fish stocks and marine ecosystems,'' said Dr Rashid Sumaila, Professor and Director of the Fisheries Economics Research Unit at UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries.“The crisis in our fisheries and in our oceans and climate are not mutually exclusive problems to be addressed separately; and it is imperative that we move forward with holistic comprehensive solutions to address them. Ending overfishing would strengthen the ocean, making it more capable of withstanding climate change and restoring marine ecosystems - and it can be done now”.
A recent study, co-authored by Dr Sumaila, demonstrates that ending overfishing - the practice of taking more fish from the ocean than what scientists estimate can be naturally replenished - is essential to build ocean resilience and can mitigate the impacts of climate change.
“There can be no healthy planetary ecosystem without a healthy Ocean ecosystem. To guarantee the latter, we must implement the SDGs said Ambassador Peter Thomson, the UNSG’s Special Envoy for the Ocean. “SDG14’s fourth target calls for an end to overfishing by 2020. Putting a stop to overfishing is a very achievable target and one that governments should be implementing with vigor. It’s time to deliver on promises long-made.”
“A healthy ocean with abundant wildlife is capable of slowing the rate of climate breakdown substantially,” said Dr Monica Verbeek, Executive Director at Seas At Risk. “To date, the most profound impact on the marine environment has come from fishing -ending overfishing is a quick, deliverable action which will restore fish populations, create more resilient ocean ecosystems, decrease CO2 pollution and increase carbon capture, and deliver more profitable fisheries and thriving coastal communities. EU fisheries ministers committed to end overfishing when they signed up to the reformed Common Fisheries Policy - and they must achieve this when they meet in Brussels in ten days time by setting fishing limits within scientific advice 2020.”
“Decades of relentless overexploitation have wrecked the ocean, mostly due to destructive overfishing. Despite this, the problem remained a concern for those with a direct interest in fish - fishing companies, ministers, fisheries scientists. What is clear now, is that the impact of overfishing on ocean ecosystems goes far beyond these few players, and we have to start treating the ocean like it is the life-support system for all people that it is,” said Rebecca Hubbard, Programme Director for Our Fish. “The EU Council recently unanimously stressed the need for immediate action against increasing threats on the ocean - ending overfishing is that emergency climate action - and EU member states can deliver it when they meet on the 16th December.”
Follow EU Today on Social media: